India's performance against Australia
During the championship, India only lost to Australia - thanks to a disappointing performance in all departments of the game – batting, bowling and fielding. But, it was the manner of defeat which put the Indian team on the back foot. The Indians put up a score of 140 runs, which for sure did not look good enough against the strong Aussie batting line up, who scored these runs with ease in just 14. 5 overs. This meant that the Indian team had a negative run rate, which later proved fatal, as India lost the semi-finals spot to Pakistan on the basis of net run rate.
There were instances when eyebrows were raised on the team selection. The most noticeable was Sehwag's exclusion against the Aussies and Dhoni's decision to play only one front line spinner against the Proteas in the final Super Eight stage game. Things could have looked different if a better team had been put on the field against either of the teams.
Opening batting pair – disappointing
Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir have been major disappointments during the ongoing T20 World Cup. When the team so much depended on the start by the Delhi pair of Gauti and Viru, they failed to live up to the expectations. Against Afghanistan, Pakistan and South Africa, the opening pair scored 15 , 1 and 23 runs respectively. These are not the kind of scores fans expect from this flamboyant pair. Sehwag and Gambhir scoring heavily would have given players in the middle order freedom to play their shots, in which they excel.
Wrong approach against Pakistan
Indian bowlers put up a clinical performance against Pakistan batsmen, restricting them to a paltry score of 128 runs. The Indians were aware of the run rate situation, but still they did not go for the kill and try to finish the game in a hurry. Had this been the case, the Indian team could have managed a better net run rate and the same could have helped them against the South Africa. The Indian team was not far sighted and was just satisfied with a victory against the arch rivals, when they had the chance to go for the knock out punch with aggressive batsmen in their team.
Australia's loss to Pakistan
Had Pakistan lost to Australia and with India defeating South Africa, it could have been India into the semis. But Australia's loss against Pakistan just made things worse for the Indian team, as was witnessed in the last super eight game. The Indian team gave their all, but sometimes even a victory does not guarantee a place in the future rounds of the tournament. One needs to be consistent at this level to succeed.
Ashwin's inclusion in the bowling attack – bit late against South Africa
May be MS Dhoni missed the trick by introducing his best spinner, R Ashwin only after Yuvraj Singh and Rohit Sharma had bowled. Rohit was in fact smashed for 13 runs, which gave the South Africans the upper hand to play against Ashwin. With the middle orders just getting their sights in, he could have given Ashwin a chance to run down South African middle order, which has always been susceptible against quality spin.
These might be just a few reasons why India failed to reach the semis, but, in general, the best T20 teams - Pakistan, Australia, West Indies and Sri Lanka - reached the semi-finals of the championship. With their quality display on the field, these teams deserved a place in the semis more than India.
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